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Vegas Excitement Breaks Records and Generates Winners | Co-sponsors Sign On with Summit

April 26, 2011

Volume 31, Issue 17

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Vegas Excitement Breaks Records and Makes Winners
Co-sponsors Sign On with Summit
60 Years Old—And Getting a Place of Our Own!
Follow NTA’s Greteman and Simon with the Egypt/Jordan Delegation
6 Tips for Keeping Your Facebook Fans Engaged
Tourism Cares Scholarship Made a Difference to GWU Professor
Three Events Connect NTA with Chinese Outbound Market
Tour Operators + Sponsorship = A Winning Combination
New DOT Regs Expand Airline Passenger Rights
Montage ’11: Building Memories, Connections and Business
Industry News: U.S. Travel Market Watch

Vegas Excitement Breaks Records and Makes Winners  

Conv 11 reg buttonConvention ’11 registration opened last week to a record-breaking flurry of activity! We thought 2010 numbers were impressive, but the number of members who registered last week for Convention ’11 shredded last year’s records. The December show offers two important reasons for attending:

  1. You. The caliber of NTA members, your dedication to the industry and ability to have fun make each NTA Convention a valuable and delightful business-building experience.
  2. A great host city. Thanks to the energy of our fabulous host city (that’s you, Las Vegas!), there’s no better place to be than NTA this December.

It’s a powerful one-two combination, and we can’t wait to see how you shape your convention this year.

Prize Winners

Congratulations to the opening-week prize winners!

Prize: A helicopter ride to the evening Icebreaker (provided by NTA member Maverick Helicopters)
Coach Tours, Kerry Simmons
Sports Leisure Vacations, Scott Angeletti
Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Shelda Rees
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Lori DiMeglio 
Prize: Registration to Convention ’11
The Maine Tour Connection, Jeanne McGurn
Louisiana Office of Tourism, Susan Smith

Prize: Free NTA dues for 2012
Fancy-Free Holidays, Inc., Jack Hintz
Amelia Island Tourism Development Council, Bretta Walker   

Prize: Reserved VIP table at the luncheon Monday, Dec. 5
Group Destination Planners, LLC, Lily Moore
Eastern Iowa Tourism Assoc., Carrie Koelker

Prize: Registration for Montage 2012

Winner: McKinzie Tours, Inc., Lyle Ceruti 

Prize: Registration for Contact

Winner:Yankee Holidays/Amtrak Vacations, Steven Grasso

Prize: A seminar sponsorship and attendance package to Contact 2012
Winner:Alberta South Tourism Destination Region, Jackie Velcoff

Prize: Full-page ad in the 2011 Convention Catalog
Winner:The Buckhorn Museum & The Texas Ranger Museum, Bevin Henges

We hope your luck continues in the Mandalay Bay Casino!

The NTA Convention brings together the most diverse group of buyers and sellers of any travel industry show—including 100 buyers who tell us they only go to NTA. Register now and see where NTA can take your business.

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Co-sponsors Sign On with Summit 

Ten organizations (and counting) are teaming up for the Grassroots Congressional Summit for Travel, being held in Washington, D.C., May 11–12. (See Tuesday story here.) The event, organized jointly by NTA and the Southeast Tourism Society, gives travel professionals an opportunity to interact with Congressional tourism leaders. It includes a Congressional reception, an exhibition of travel sector organizations and federal agencies involved in tourism, and Capitol Hill visits. 

The following organizations have joined the Summit as co-sponsors:

  • American Bus Association
  • American Society of Travel Agents
  • Interactive Travel Services Association
  • Receptive Services Association of America
  • Student & Youth Travel Association
  • United Motorcoach Association
  • United States Tour Operator Association
  • Western States Tourism Policy Council

Steve Richer, NTA’s public affairs advocate, is pleased with the industry’s participation. "People in Washington think the Summit is a good idea for the packaged travel business," he said. "This shows we’re working together." To register for the event, go to NTA Online.

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60 Years Old—And Getting a Place of Our Own! 

Your NTA is moving into permanent quarters on Friday. Since becoming self-managed at the beginning of the year, NTA staff members have been working from temporary office space. Now we’ve got a place of our own! Our new address is:

101 Prosperous Place, Ste. 350
Lexington, KY 40509

Our e-mail addresses and Web site URL will not change in this transition; neither will our 800 number (for use in the U.S. and Canada). Our main phone number and phone numbers for staff members will change, and the phone company will release those numbers next week.

We’ll keep you informed by sharing photos of our new digs and staff phone numbers as soon as we can. If you’re in town next week for the Kentucky Derby, stop by and … grab a box!

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Follow NTA’s Greteman and Simon with the Egypt/Jordan Delegation  

NTA’s Cathy Greteman, chairman, and Lisa Simon, president, are nearing the end of their six-day visit to Egypt and Jordan as members of a travel industry delegation hoping to bolster tourism in the area. Several media outlets have picked up on the story (detailed in last week’s Tuesday), including Travel Pulse and Travel Market Report.

In Group Tour Magazine, editor Rick Martinez recognized NTA’s leadership with the Egypt/Jordan project as the latest in NTA’s "cooperative approach," which he described as "heartening to see."


Several members of the contingent, which includes association leaders, tour operators and travel journalists, have sent messages and posted notes and photos from their meetings with tourism officials and visits to iconic sites. You can stay apprised through the following links:

In an April 25 e-mail, Simon described a chance meeting with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the lobby of the delegation’s Cairo hotel. The senator, who was visiting Egypt after his trip to Libya, expressed his gratitude to the group. "Thank you for being here," McCain said. "They need tourism badly."

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6 Tips for Keeping Your Facebook Fans Engage 

For a business seeking new customers through Facebook, it’s tempting to keep score by checking the number of "likes." But there’s more to building an active and productive Facebook community than tallying new friends, according to Jason Winocour, a social and digital media expert. In a story in PR News, Winocour describes business strategies for keeping Facebook fans engaged:

  • Look to Facebook as a powerful tool for building awareness and stoking engagement, and not as your company’s main driver of sales.
  • Don’t just announce company news; give your fans a mixture of ways to interact by posting questions, pictures and polls, and providing relevant links.
  • Facebook provides insights and analytics to help you determine which engagement tactics are most effective for your page. Use them to understand your fans’ interests and to promote a deeper interaction with your brand.
  • When you post, use a voice that reflects the personality of the brand, rather than a cold, "official" voice.
  • In terms of frequency, you can post three or four times a week and keep followers engaged—but only if your posts are relevant and interesting.
  • Be careful about deleting posts. It’s one thing to remove an offensive post, but deleting one that’s merely negative can alienate your community.

Click here for Winocour’s complete article on PR News.

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Tourism Cares Scholarship Made a Difference to GWU Professor 

Stuart LevyIn 1992, Stuart Levy was a "wide-eyed" undergraduate student at Cornell University with a passion for travel. Thanks in part to a generous scholarship from the National Tourism Foundation, now Tourism Cares, Levy turned his passion into a rewarding career.

"Attending the NTA Convention in Atlantic City was perhaps the most valuable experience of my undergraduate years," explains Levy. "I vividly remember shadowing destination marketers as we met with tour operators, attending seminars, and networking with fellow students and industry professionals."

This was just the catalyst Levy needed to move forward. Following graduation, he took his first professional travel industry job with Tauck Tours. After several successful years, Levy pursued advanced degrees at Georgetown University and University of Calgary, with emphasis on hotel consulting, government policy and Internet marketing. Now, Stuart Levy, Ph.D., is assistant professor of Tourism and Hospitality at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year Levy’s journey came full circle when he welcomed Bruce Beckham, executive director for Tourism Cares, and Robin Tauck, founder of Robin Tauck & Partners LLC, to GWU.

"Was it nearly two decades ago that I first shook Bruce’s hand in Atlantic City, thanking him for the opportunity to engage with this incredible industry?" recounts the scholarship alum. "Was it almost that long ago when I proudly wore my Tauck green jacket during my first job out of school?"

Dr. Levy continues to appreciate the difference Tourism Cares played in fulfilling his dream for a career in the travel industry. "I’m tremendously pleased to give back to Tourism Cares through my Internet Marketing course at GWU. Students are working with Tourism Cares on a Google pay-per-click campaign. This project will attract donors, students and other visitors to their Web site and help raise awareness for this wonderful organization and its programs."

For more information about Tourism Cares grants, scholarships and internship programs, visit or find them on Facebook/TourismCares or Twitter/@TourismCares. 

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Three Events Connect NTA with Chinese Outbound Market 

Haybina Hao, NTA’s director of international development, has returned to her U.S. office after guiding NTA through three successful events in China: the China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market, Road Show-Chongqing and Road Show-Chengdu. Seventeen American companies and destinations participated in these events, and four more participated through catalog display. 

During the three events, April 13–19, NTA delivered four presentations to more than 300 trade and media representatives. At COTTM, NTA hosted the U.S. Pavilion, which included the Utah Office of Tourism booth, staffed at times by Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. The event drew some 3,000 Chinese outbound travel buyers.

Haybina China Show presentation

The two road shows generated 25 media reports, according to U.S. Commercial Service’s Chengdu office. Road show participants, including Du Ning, marketing and PR manager for the Chicago and Illinois Tourist Office, were pleased with the event.  "We very much cherish this great chance to build our network and communicate with local travel agents and local tourism bureaus," she said.

Working the three events with Hao was David Yu, NTA’s chief representative for China. Yu recently took the helm of the NTA Visit USA Center in Shanghai. Chinese tourists made up 6 percent of the world’s outbound travelers in 2009, and the NTA Visit USA Center promotes a greater awareness about American tourism experiences.

You can welcome Yu to NTA: E-mail him at

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Tour Operators + Sponsorship = A Winning Combination 

Registering for NTA’s upcoming Convention (Vegas, Dec. 5–9) is the first step to reaching NTA tour operators. But don’t just attend—sponsor! 

As a sponsor, you can escalate your company’s/destination’s presence and create a lasting impression. A variety of sponsorships are available, or we can craft one to meet your specific marketing objectives and budget. 

Convention ’11 could be your best bet for reaching tour operators. Click here for more information about sponsorship, or contact Karla DiNardo by e-mail or phone: 800.682.8886 or +1.859.226.4232.

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New DOT Regs Expand Airline Passenger Rights 

After successfully reducing lengthy tarmac delays during the past year, the Department of Transportation last week launched a raft of passenger-rights rules that go into effect in August. Intended to ease fliers’ frustrations, the rules include the following:

  • No hidden fees: An airline must prominently disclose all potential fees on its Web site, including fees for baggage, meals, changing reservations and upgrading seating. Airlines must also post all government fees and taxes connected to tickets.
  • Fee refunds: Already required to compensate passengers for lost or damaged items, airlines will also need to refund any baggage fees if a bag is lost.
  • Bump money: The new rule bumps up compensation for passengers who are involuntarily bumped from oversold flights: twice the price of a ticket for short delays, and four times the ticket value for long delays.
  • Tarmac time: With the new rules, the ban on tarmac delays will be extended to international airlines’ operations at U.S. airports.

Find details about these and other requirements to make travel more flier-friendly in the DOT news release. Or read the 213-page report here.

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Montage ’11: Building Memories, Connections and Business  

Intimate networking opportunities, stimulating presentations and unforgettable Scottish sights, stories and hospitality highlighted Montage, NTA’s international Business Builder. Held in connection with the VisitScotland Expo, Montage treated 55 travel trade professionals to two and a half days of professional enrichment and connection-building.

Montage was preceded by a three-day product development trip hosted by Visit Scotland, which brought participants from Edinburgh to Inverness and finally to Aberdeen. The event was a big hit with attendees, including Lena Olofsson of Galaxia Tours in Cairo, Egypt. "It was really what the doctor ordered-nice people, good laughs and beautiful environments," Olofsson said.

NTA had plenty of support behind this event. Here’s a list of the fantastic sponsors that helped make Montage memorable:

Host City and Partners
VisitScotland: Tuesday Evening Event and Gala and Ceilidh Dance
Aberdeen City & Shire: Icebreaker
Historic Scotland: Gala and Ceilidh Dance
National Trust for Scotland: Gala and Ceilidh Dance

Rhode Island Tourism Division: Badge Holders
Seville Tourism Board: Notebooks and Pens
The Mills, A Simon Company: Registration Bags
Tourisme Quebec and Quebec City: Montage Program
VisitRochester: Water Bottles

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Industry News and Updates: U.S. Travel Market Watch  

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